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Jordan Rudess

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Album Review

A child prodigy, Jordan Rudess studied at Julliard from age nine to 17, at which time he left a promising future as a concert pianist for the lure of rock & roll. Upon this release, his second solo recording (the first was an independent release titled Arrival), Rudess had already toured with Jan Hammer and the Paul Winter Consort . His career started to pick up even faster when he was named Best New Talent by Keyboard magazine in 1994. The basis for the award was his live performances and this recording, on which he displays his innovative use of keyboards and dazzling technique. Soon after, he was asked to join his future band, Dream Theater, but turned them down. There is much to enjoy on Listen, but Rudess' toneless singing is not one of them. Female vocalist Barbara Bock saves most of the vocal tracks with her fine voice and should have been the only one singing. Aside from that, the compositions are fairly interesting with many different moods, styles, and textures being explored. Fans expecting Dream Theater-style prog metal are advised to approach with caution and an open mind.

Customer Reviews

Great inspirational music from a true keyboard wizard!

The first time I heard Listen, I was immediately drawn into the music. The artistic blend of beautiful melodies, rich harmony, progressive rock overtones, keyboard virtuosity and above all great composition really blew me away. It is now a part of my regular listening (no pun intended) library and continues to inspire me. Since I've turned many of my friends on to this CD, they have become huge Jordan Rudess fans. Jordan speaks from the heart through his fingers and delivers a new brand of fusion. If you like talents such as Keith Emerson, Rick Wakeman, Patrick Moraz, Jan Hammer and other keyboard giants, and love great composition blending prog rock, classical, and electronica, you have to buy the CD. You will Listen again and again and become a new Jordan Rudess addict. Check out his other monster offerings; you won't be disappointed!

A mixed bag.

Any work produced by Jordan Rudess won't lack for technical brilliance. Fans of his other work won't be disappointed here. However, lyrically, vocally and conceptually, Listen falls short of the mark. Self-consciously positive throughout, Rudess's lyrics border on the mawkish, and his vocals leave a great deal to be desired, particularly in contrast with vocalist Barbara Bock and his own virtuoso keyboards. Several tracks do push beyond these faults; particularly "It's a Mystery" and "Feel the Magic". Dream Theater fans may well revel in the album's only instrumental, "Boogie Wacky Boogie", which highlights the offbeat sensibility Rudess has brought to the band's performances since his addition in 1999. The album is well worthwhile to keyboard aficionados or fans of Rudess's other work, but isn't really recommended to anyone without any particular attachment to the artist.

Biography

Genre: Rock

Years Active: '90s, '00s

Jordan Rudess has the distinction of taking classical piano training at the Juilliard School of Music at nine years old. Rudess has played with Steve Morse, both in his solo career and in Dixie Dregs. He has also recorded with David Bowie, Annie Haslam, and Vinnie Moore. He and fellow Dregs man Rod Morgenstein have a side project called the Rudess Morgensein Project. He...
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